August

Baguette Viennoise

This dough is an alternative to brioche - although not as rich - and much quicker to make.

Polish Bakery gains acclaim

The bakery market in Poland is the yin to the UK's yang. Dominated as it is by the craft sector, with nearly nine in 10 loaves sold unpackaged and produced 'artisanally', it holds up a mirror to the UK, where four in five loaves are plant-baked. But craft baking in Poland is in decline, while plant bread production is on the rise. Could it be because all their bakers are over here?

Aulds enters a new era

Operating from three different factories on the same site in the space of less than two years is not an exercise Aulds managing director Alan Marr would like to repeat. But he recognises the experience has enabled his company to hone the design of its latest £7m production base to the specific current and future needs of its frozen desserts business.

Mutually beneficial

The success of Britain's bakery sector is built around a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with the major supermarkets.

Vandemoortele acquires Polish frozen bread firm

Belgian food group Vandemoortele has strengthened its presence in central Europe with the takeover of the Polish frozen bakery firm Gourmand Poland, part of Group Dossche, for an undisclosed sum.

Chinese beet deal for ABF

International food, ingredients and retail group Associated British Foods (ABF) has announced a deal with the China-based Hebei Tian Lu Sugar Group in a move to boost sugar beet yields.

Grocery sales slow to 3%

Growth in consumer spending in the grocery market is slowing, according to figures compiled by TNS Worldpanel.

Sainsbury's signs up Battle Bake House

A family-owned bakery in East Sussex has won a contract with Sainsbury's as part of the retailer's Supply Something New initiative.

Salt levels in bread vary across country

Results from an interim report into salt levels in foods suggests there may be wide regional variations in salt levels in breads.

Independent bakeries perform

Privately owned bakeries are increasing in value faster than their corporate competitors, making them potential takeover targets.

Further flour price increases predicted as costs rocket

Millers and bakers are going through "hair tearing" times as wheat and commodity prices soar, says the National Association of British and Irish Millers (Nabim).

British Bakeries in consultation over site closures

British Bakeries said last week it was consulting on closing its Bradford bakery and scaling down activities at its Telford depot. It also refused to rule out possible future closures at other sites.

Founder of Pat The Baker dies

Pat Higgins, founder and owner of Pat the Baker in Ireland, has died aged 84. He and his wife Rita, who died in 1991, set up the bakery in Granard, Co Longford, her home town, in 1953.

Costa sales up driven by new store openings

Whitbread said its Costa business saw substantial sales increase driven by new store openings and a strong like-for-like performance, in a trading update this week.

Briefs

Inspection and certification provider SAI Global/EFSIS is now able to carry out assessments against the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard. The standard looks at every aspect of how a company's operations affect the environment, from waste management to its carbon footprint. Inspections can be carried out in conjunction with recognised food, national and proprietary standards.

Rondo steps up for bakers

Normally, when I get an invitation to "come and see the latest additions to our new make-up line", the sender is a beauty firm - the likes of Estée Lauder or L'Oréal.

Personal touch

Setting up your own bakery seems a perverse choice for someone whose memories of birthdays growing up are scarred by upset tummies from eating birthday cakes. It was only in adulthood that Emma Killilea discovered she had been suffering from an acute wheat allergy and she is now on a mission to replace what she sees as the bland cardboard often passing as a gluten-free alternative with her own taste-oriented products.

Pavlova

This is a variation of a classic dessert, which makes a perfect light summer treat. It is made using a stiff meringue mix, which can be easily piped into shape. We sell our Pavlova for £17.

Pricing policies prove tough

A recent survey of company directors in the food supply chain conducted by Grant Thornton, leading business and financial adviser to the food industry sought to probe the relationship between supermarkets and their suppliers and the extent of supermarket power.

Don't disparage 'cheap' bread

The baking industry has been criticised for trying to make bread cheap.

Weather hits logistics firm

Logistics company Christian Salvesen said its UK logistics business had been hit by wet weather in July, in an update this week.

Irish miller warns of hefty increase in its flour prices

Irish miller Odlums has indicated that its flour prices will increase by over E90 (£61) a tonne.

Bakery supplier bounces back

North-east bakery supplier Tindale & Stanton says it is back to full strength, expanding its new product development facilities and looking at new lines, two years after a fire destroyed its factory.

Dessert firm tackles market problems

Leicester-based desserts company Vittles is planning to double the size of its business in the next three to four years.

Fine Lady fined on pollution charges

Fine Lady Bakeries has been ordered to pay £8,000 after plea-ding guilty to polluting the River Cherwell in Banbury with diesel and waste bakery washings.

Cooks takes a different tack

Retail bakery chain Cooks the Bakery has revealed it currently has 100 outlets, down from 121 at the start of the year.

Polish first for Scotland

An entrepreneur has built Scotland's first large-scale Polish bakery to supply East European migrants and his own restaurant outlets.

Improve seeks NVQ and corporate training links

Improve, the food and drink sector skills council, wants to see employers' own training programmes recognised as part of a new framework governing vocational qualifications across the industry.

Commission to scrutinise emails

The Competition Commission has sent out legal notices to Asda and Tesco demanding access to e-mails sent to suppliers over the summer, to cast light on their relationships with suppliers.

Maple Leaf empire expands with purchase of La Fornaia

Maple Leaf Bakery UK added to its growing UK empire with the £18.75 million acquisition of premium breads supplier La Fornaia this week, announcing plans to expand the London-based business.

Briefs

n Brennans Bakery in Ireland has teamed up with Irish tour operator Sunway for an online promotion. An offer on the wrappings of Brennans' half-pan packs directs consumers to a website, [http://www.sunway.ie/brennans]. They can book holidays with a E100 discount, and have a chance of winning a four-star holiday.

Too hot to handle

In today's competitive baking environment, the pressure for higher throughput and maximum yield is unrelenting. Handling and transfer of the product during production is especially critical, and with target yields in the upper-90s percentage-wise, there is minimal room for error.

O'Briens' overhaul

W e were very much trying to target the young female professional," says O'Briens' retail and operations director Andrew Moyes, recalling the sandwich and coffee chain's old look. Then, with exquisite timing, he gives a cheeky nod in the direction of the walking embodiment of the Irish franchise firm's broadening appeal - a silver-haired 70-plus woman, who seats herself at the next table.

Face to face...

Q How did you come to be involved in the baking industry?

Let's take training to task

Several readers have commented that they have little or no faith in NVQs. Others say they wouldn't ask if a candidate for a job had one. In fact, I have not yet found anyone to sing their praises.

Inflation falls to below 2%

The Office for National Statistics said this week that the UK's rate of inflation fell to 1.9% in July, below the government's target of 2%.

Zimbabwe runs out of bread as wheat supplies falter

Zimbabwe's Grain Marketing Board ran out of wheat last week, with the impact likely to be felt by bakers this week.

Community bakery hailed as local hero

An Aberdeen bakery, which provides work for adults with learning disabilities, has been nominated for a national award.

EC's foot-and-mouth rules hinder exports

Bakery ingredients suppliers are being hit by export restrictions designed to counter the recent foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

More suppliers sign up for BIE

Firms are flocking to join the Baking Industry Exhibition (BIE), organised by William Reed Events.

Legislation watch

New rules come into force on 30 October that will require bakeries to reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill.

Clean-label breads launched by Tesco

Tesco has launched its first range of breads made using no artificial additives. The range of eight products goes on sale across Britain this month.

European Bakeries deal investigated

Suppliers and creditors have raised serious concerns about London wholesale bakery European Bakeries, which recently spent a week in administration.

Wheat crop in balance

The quality and yield for the rest of the UK wheat harvest now depends on the weather during the next two to three weeks, says the Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA).

Supplier survey rates supermarkets on fairness

A new report sets out to highlight what it calls "bully-boy tactics" used by some of the supermarkets when dealing with suppliers.

Briefs

n Three drug addicts were jailed this month after threatening a baker with a sawn-off shotgun and an axe. In April last year, the burglars forced baker Royston Owen - who was working at Mr Bunn the Baker in Long Stratton, Norfolk - to hand over £500 in cash. Owen was made to draw money out of his account from a cash machine and was hit on the side of the head with the gun.

Going the extra mile

Foodservice supplier Brakes is increasing its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity with a set of environmental and social programmes.

Cook's craft

Seventeen years ago, Peter Cook was a sandwich maker for his in-laws' bakery in Ludlow. Today, he's a Rick Stein food hero and he takes the job seriously.

Investing in the future

Having spent the past few months acclimatising to its new production headquarters in Inverurie, west of Aberdeen, JG Ross Bakers is embarking on the acquisition trail as it aims to turn anticipated sales of £8.3m for 2008 into an annual turnover of £11m by 2011. "We now have the capacity to target more volume," executive chairman and company founder George Ross tells British Baker.

In search of a tasty slice

Booths Supermarkets was established in 1847 and celebrates its 160th anniversary this year. It has 26 stores across Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria and Yorkshire, with a company turnover of £230m.

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